Thursday, 5 March 2015

Book making

I've been making notebooks, journals, scrapbooks and mini photo albums for a few years now, loving the diversity of the many designs, layouts and size. I'm a collectaholic, (is there such a word? my automatic spellcheck doesn't seem to think there is) and I'm always on the look out for bits of ephemera and memorbillia, cuttings from magazines, sheet music, script, quotations and so much more besides. You name it, I keep it.

Now some might scorn at what I'm about to say but I actually check out charity shops for old books which are long past their use by date and about to go into the great bookshop in the sky. Why you ask? Well I've been learning all about the craft of Altered Books or Book Reinvention. Basically ripping the pages out of a hard back book (the pages can be saved for later use eg making book page sculptures or Christmas decorations - more about that another time). Anyway once the pages are out and the spine is intact then you have a solid cover for turning into your own journal, notebook or whatever.

Just punch some holes in the cover and correspondingly your own paper and there you have it. The titles of some books are often very apt for the kind of book I'm making. For instance "In and out of London" ideal for recording my trips into town. "Looking back at the past" great for my family history and so it goes on. Never a dull moment!

I love paper in any shape or form and have enjoyed using various techniques on many types - sketchbook paper, handmade, lined, squared and even wallpaper lining paper. Stamping, painting, drawing, writing, torn edges, there's so much scope for creating your own personalised work of art.

So, here is one of my recent makes - a scrappy, shabby kind of book which I can add to whenever and wherever I want. Memories of anything or everything, recent or not so recent.


I sprayed my cover with a few different water colours and then decided on a name - couldn't be anything else could it? 




I'm very much looking forward to filling it now that 
I've prepped all my pages


And because it's an anytime kind of scrappy book I can start my recollections wherever I want to and a perfect place for my eclectic musings, sketches, poems and favourite quotations.


As well as the occasional photos



Enjoy the rest of the week and I'll be back soon.
Bye for now x










Friday, 27 February 2015

Five on Friday - February

I'm linking up with  Amy for this month's Five on Friday post so I thought I'd share some good moments of my February.

1. A trip to the Houses of Parliament - the Palace of Westminster organised by our local church. A fabulous day where we soaked up loads of history and learnt about all the ceremonial traditions of this amazing palace. We were able to walk around the House of Lords and visit their library/tea room/writing room but bcause it was a Wednesday and Prime Minister's Question Time was taking place we could not go into the Commons. However we went up into the viewing gallery later on and were able to witness a few political debates taking place. Fascinating!





2. When visiting friends in Berkshire recently we drove over to Hungerford a town well known for its abundance of antique centres and evidently featured occasionally on various TV antiques road shows. The walk down to the canal was pretty chilly - we'd already had some sleet and hail showers so didn't hang around for too long. A pot of steaming tea was most welcome in "The Rafters" in one antiques arcade.



3. A morning stroll the next morning saw us in the pretty village of Cookham where sunny skies greeted us. The River Thames always has a place in my heart - be it the narrow up river or wider down river where we live in Essex. Onwards to the village of Littlewick Green for lunch.



4. We belong to the Royal Horticultural Society and are lucky enough to live near RHS Hyde Hall, some 15 minutes away by car. We try to visit once a month and take in all that the changing seasons offer us. The colours are beautiful all year round and this is February's view.



5. Some quality fun time with two of our grandchildren on Saturday mornings occasionally.


I'll leave you with this little ditty I found via Pinterest



Now, if I've done this correctly you should be able to see others' 
posts by clicking on this link

Well I believe there should have been a little icon with four thumbnails. Oh well not to worry. I'll try and add it to my sidebar and lets hope the link from here works. You can't test it out until you've actually published the post.

Have a great weekend

PS - just checked and it doesn't  work so for now just press on Amy's link above. I'll get it sorted!!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

St Valentine - A legend



St Valentine's Day or the Feast of St Valentine is a celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentine and observed around the world on February 14. There are several legends of martyrdom around St Valentine, one of which was Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and also for ministering to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Legend has it that during his imprisonment he healed the daughter of his jailer, and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.

The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer may have invented Valentine's Day. He often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious contexts that he represented as real.  In his work "Parliament of Foules" he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St Valentine's feast day. The poem refers to February 14 as "the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate".

In Great Britain Valentine's Day celebrations became quite popular around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes and by 1900 printed cards began to appear.

After 45 years together, John and I still uphold this little romantic tradition.

HAPPY ST VALENTINE'S DAY !





(text based on an article by History.com)




Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Year in Books - February



Linking up today with Laura at Circle of Pine Trees for this month's Year in Books where we aim to read at least one book a month. At the start of the month we blog about the book we are intending to read and perhaps a few words about the previous book.

Last month's book Wolf Hall by  (Dame) Hilary Mantel was one that I had started, put down and then picked up again when I realised the serialised drama was scheduled on the tv. Try as I might, I simply couldn't finish it in time and had to put it back on the shelf once more.

In summary, the book is a fictionalised story of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell whose father was a blacksmith who bullied him as a child. At fifteen he ran away to sea and travelled Europe - joining the French Army and later working as a merchant in Antwerp and Florence. After many years he returns where his life experiences enabled him to becomes an assistant to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York. Steeped in history around the life and loves of Henry Vlll this book brings the brutal world of the Tudors to life.

This month's book is Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton -   and seemingly of a mystery/crime genre.




"Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace sees the smoke and runs. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her". 

Afterwards, Grace must search for the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who's still intent on destroying them. Afterwards she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

I'm not one to read crime as a rule but I do like a bit of mystery so hope I'll stick with it. I picked this up last night and it clicked instantly. I have a habit of testing the water so to speak. Sometimes I just get bored after the first chapter and leave it on the side for another time - which never happens! 

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On another note I just want to apologise to all of my blogging friends for my lack of comments and posts this last couple of weeks. We have been in a dilemma here as to whether to move house or stay where we are. We've lived here for 30 years and the children have now fled and we thought it might be a good time to downsize. However, I do love my house, all of our bedrooms are in constant use - our master bedroom, the guest room, my study/craft room and then a little box room for whatever gets put in there.  Plus we live in a quiet neighbourhood with plenty of walks and open spaces nearby as well as the sea. We started to look around and nothing matched or compared with our house - even if we did move I daresay I would definitely want some re-decoration and/or improvements done. That being so we have decided to stay and have some work done here - new kitchen and possibly some other improvements. So instead of hours of trawling around looking at properties we are now out looking for kitchens etc and having people in for designing and quoting for said work to be done. This all takes time and something has to give - so once again I hope you'll bear with me.

I would like to say thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my last posts. I really do appreciate them and they mean such a lot to me. Hopefully I'll be back on track again in a few days.

Take care my friends and have a good week.
Patricia x

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Beach

I love going down to the beach, there's something that just draws me to it. As much as I love the surrounding countryside, give me the beach any day.  Living virtually on the River Thames we have plenty of beaches to choose from. Most of our local beaches are sandy with a coating of cockle shells.


 Leigh on Sea is famous for both its cockle boats and cockle sheds where the cockles are cooked and then the shells I guess are either re-cycled and/or returned back to the seashore.


I love hearing the Sea Gulls, the Curlews and the sound of the tap, tap, tapping of the rigging against the aluminium masts of the boats



I love the varied assortment of seafaring paraphernalia to be found along the shore





I love the sound of the waves swishing over the shells along the shoreline


and further around the coast love seeing these gorgeous beach huts
(which I would love to own if they weren't so expensive)

We took a walk on Sunday along this stretch of the beach where the tide was almost up and the sailing boats were getting ready for some kind of regatta.


A light wind was whipping up and sails were raised 


Up on the promenade this sign always tickles me


but I guess a man's gotta do what a mans gotta do!



I hope you enjoyed my beachy theme today.

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I'd like to say a huge thank you to all you lovely people who have left comments on my recent posts. I'd love to reply individually but I guess I'm probably not the only person who cannot always find the time to reply.  I just wish there was a "like" button as on Facebook that you could just let your commenter know you have read their comment. Anyway many thanks again.

See you soon x

Friday, 23 January 2015

Five on Friday - January


I'm joining in with Five on Friday organised by Amy at Love Made my Home where once a month we take five minutes from our day to enjoy five things. Do pop in to see what others in my group are up to at the bottom of the page.

This month I'm sharing a few of my recent makes.

1. I'm enjoying creating and making mini photo albums and journals. Here are a few that I've gifted or kept for myself.




2. I found this crocheted cowl on Pinterest and simply had to make it in advance of any colder weather. So cosy and warm too and only took about four hours to make.



Not very good at "Selfies" I'm afraid.



3. Nothing better than a bowl of homemade veggie soup - wouldn't be without my soup maker. I just threw in some veggies that were sitting in the fridge - carrots, onion, courgette, swede etc., plus a tin of tomatoes, stock cube, seasoning, herbs - basil, oregano and top up with about 500 mls water. Yummy.



4. Tomato Chutney - a must with cheeses, cold meats, pork pies etc. Not sure why I only make it in the winter though.


5. Back on the crafting note here are a couple of gift bags/envelopes I made and have put aside for upcoming birthdays



Amy at Love Made my Home
Kristie at North of 49
Katharine at Art-e-Facts
Selma at Eclectic home life
Marion at My two girls
Teresa at Knit, Bake, Cultivate


Have a good weekend dear friends.

Friday, 9 January 2015

A Year in Books - January

I'm linking up with Laura at Circle of Pine Trees with the Year in Books 2015. I did join last year but other things were getting in the way and I didn't find the time to carry it through. However, new year new outlook and I can't wait to get reading again, deciding that the time spent reading quietly is time well spent.

The aim of the Year in Books project is to read at least one book a month during 2015. It's not a conventional book club so we don't all read the same book. The project is about trying to ensure that we make space for reading in our busy lives and a chance to discover more lovely books. At the start of the month we blog about the book that we are intending to read and perhaps a few words about the previous book.

The book I've just picked up is one I started reading about six months ago but as it was too large to take on holiday with me  I put back on the shelf,  as we do, and simply didn't pick it up again until now.

My book is  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. 



I've just heard there is a new drama series coming on the TV some time soon called Wolf Hall -  which means I just have to read the book before it starts. Consequently I'm reading it at every opportunity I can -  in fact I'm so 'into it' now I can't put it down! I love history especially during the time of Tudor England in the 1500s and this book is ticking all the boxes.

Seeing as Ive just come aboard and haven't a book for December, I'll just give you a little sneak of a beautiful book my husband gave me for Christmas called Paper Bliss by Skye Rogers. I love paper crafting and anything to do with paper so this really is bliss.



it has so many pages of gorgeous paper with designs





including pages that open out with even more lovely designs








even the book cover opens out to reveal a huge page of templates for cutting out.

Not everyone's cup of tea I'll grant you but if you love anything to do with paper  loveliness,  then you'll love this book.

Bye for now and have a great weekend.
P x